Director | Assistant Professor, Studies in Islamic and Arab Cultures | Playwright

Contact Information | Tel: 519-884-4404 ext. 28671 | Location: REN 0223A


PhD - Theatre Studies, York University
TESOL Certificate - York University
TASOL Diploma - Education Canada College

My primary areas of research interest are Comparative Literature (Arabic and English), Forum Theatre and social change, drama in Education and Language Pedagogy.  I am principally interested in the representation of political violence in modern Arabic and English drama. 

I believe that learning is an experiential and reciprocal process in which students develop a capacity for self-direction and self- generation of ideas, and also they learn through action, experience and exploration mediated in a collaborative and cooperative educational setting.


    My role in student learning lies in the following: 
    1. motivating students to examine their ideas and explore new ones; 
    2.  facilitating  communicatively to construct a collaborative learning experience in the classroom;
    3.  providing opportunities for students to interactively express their opinions in multiple ways;
    4.  guiding them to a variety of resources and experiences;
    5.  making sure that my classroom is a safe and comfortable place
    To engage in the afore-mentioned activities I utilize interactive dramatic and theatrical techniques (such as role-play/role-reversal, image theatre, narration, games etc.) which help to create a suitable environment to exchange and analyze concepts productively and to effectively negotiate knowledge among students. Such techniques engage the senses, emotions, imagination, and the intellect by enacting the subject matter and making it memorable, meaningful and intellectually entertaining. However, using such an approach is not without its risks. My experience and training in this field allow me to negotiate these risks carefully adapting to the context and course content, and also combining with techniques from other teaching methods such as group discussion, debate, multi-media, as well as online and external resources.



    Khitab al-Harb fil Masrah al-Muassr (The Discourse of War in Contemporary Theatre) (in Arabic). Dar Kafaat almaerifa, Jordan: Amman, winter 2020.

    Contemporary Plays from Iraq: An Anthology. In collaboration with James Al-Shamma, and prefaced by Marvin Carlson. Methuen Drama (Bloomsbury), London, UK, January 2017.

    Peer-reviewed articles:

    “Rehearsing for Transformation: Theatre of the Oppressed, Pedagogy, and Human Rights”, Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Journal, Fall 2020.

    “Showing Our Shit”: Representations by Muslim Writers of the Diaspora Experience, JIL Journal of Literary Studies, Lebanon: Tripoli, winter 2020.

    “Iraq’s Ancient Past as Cultural Currency in Rasha Fadhil’s Ishtar in Baghdad.” In collaboration with James Al-Shamma. ArabStages, Vol.10, No.1 (Spring 2019), New York: Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications.

    “The Birth of Modern Iraqi Theatre: Church Drama in Mosul in the Late Nineteenth Century.” In collaboration with James Al-Shamma. ArabStages, Vol.2, No.1 (Fall 2015), New York: Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications.

    “The Politics of Change and Theatrical Interactivity in the Theories of Bertolt Brecht, Antonin Artaud and Augusto Boal.” University of Basrah, Majala al-Adab, Vol.60, January 2012, pp.82-94.

    The Politics of Violence in John Arden’s and Harold Pinter’s Selected Plays.Mustansirya University, Majala Kulia al-Tarbia al-Asasiya, (Baghdad), Vol.67, 2011, pp. 69-86.

    The Politics and Theatricality of Ashura Rituals in Iraq.Baghdad University, Majala al-Adab, Vol. 93, May 2010, pp. 34-71.


    “Banking Collapses: Transforming the Learning Environment in Iraq through Forum Theatre.” Reimagining Research for Reclaiming the Academy in Iraq: Identities and Participation in Post- conflict Inquiry. Sense, Rotterdam, South Holland, NL, 2012. ISBN 9789460918964, pp.25-37.

    Translation in Literary Journals/Magazines:

    Women Poetry Translation (Arabic-English), Consequence, Spring 2019. (with an introduction to the Poetry of Arab women)

    Poetry Translation (Arabic-English), The Commons, winter, 2019. Poetry translation (Arabic-English), Talking Writing, winter 2019. Poetry translation (Arabic-English), The Poetry Magazine, spring 2020.

    Other Publications:

    The Mug, The Peak Magazine. May 2, 2019.

    “Acting out: Theatre Class Where Students Rehearse for Change.” The Conversation Canada. Jan 2, 2019.

    Stuck & Judgment Day (Plays). First Choice Books, Victoria, BC, Canada, 2008.

    Ashley Plays. Common Plants, August 26, 2008.

    Conference & Workshop Presentations

    Afro-Iraqi Rituals: Between Preserving Identity and Resisting Oppression.(online)Lecture, Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois, United States. November 4, 2020

    Guest lecturer: “Godot and the American Dream through an Iraqi Lens”. online lecture, Dept. of English, College of Arts, University of Basrah, Iraq. June 17, 2020.

    Co-Presenter: “An American Soldier through Iraqi Eyes: Abdul Razaq Al-Rubai’s A Strange Bird on Our Roof”, ASTR: American Society for Theatre Research Conference, Washington D.C., November 10, 2019.

    Trainer: Political Theatre. Instituto Superior de Formación Docente en Artes Nº 5074, Ministerio de Innovación y Cultura ,Reconquista, Santa Fe, August 5 & 6, 2019.

    Trainer: Theatre of the Oppressed and Institutional Practices. El Centro Especializado de Responsabilidad Penal Juvenil , Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos, Rosario, August 15 &16, 2019.

    Presenter: “Showing Our Shit”: Representations by Muslim Writers of the Diaspora Experience, Home, Displacement, Dispossession, and Refugees in the Middle East and the Islamic World MAMEIS Conference 2019, University of Louisville, KY, March 22, 2019.

    Trainer: Vicarious Resilience in Field Education, Laurier & Renison University College, March 5, 2019.

    Trainer: Theatre of the Oppressed: Forum Theatre as Pedagogy, Renison University College, University of Waterloo, Jan 23, 2019.

    Co-Presenter: “Assessing the Learning That Occurs with Arts Based Pedagogy: Learning About Social Justice” UAAC Conference, University of Waterloo, October 26, 2018.

    University of Massachusetts Joiner Center, Theatre and Social Change. Boston, MA, US, June 25, 2014.

    York University, Home and Land, Transnationalism, Identity and Arab Canadians (ACANS): Waiting for Obama: The Forgotten Black in Iraq. Toronto, ON, Canada, March 6, 2014. 

    University of Massachusetts Joiner Center, Responding to Upheavals in the Arab World: The Role of the Playwright in Time of Crisis. Boston, MA, US, June 28, 2013.

    University of Massachusetts Joiner Center, Writers Workshop: Modern Drama and War. Boston, MA, US, June 18, 2012.

    freeDimensional: Training on Consultancy in Cases of Artists in Danger. Toronto, ON, Canada, July 15, 2011.

    TCG National Conference: What If…We Could Bridge the Divides? The Role of Theatre in Iraqi-US Reconciliation and Unsafe Expressions: Protecting Artists from Violence and Control. Los Angeles, CA, US, June 18, 2011.

    FOOT Performing Back, University of Toronto Graduate Centre for Study of Drama: Dramatizing Political Violence: Contemporary Iraqi Drama after the 2003 War. Toronto, ON, Canada, February 5, 2011. 

    Utilizing Drama Techniques to Enhance Arabic / English Teaching to Iraqi Teachers, Istanbul, Turkey, May 2010.

    Productions & Performances

    Director, Save the Joiner: Legislative Theatre, UMass, Boston, June 2018. Director, Home-Oh! University of Waterloo, April 2018.

    Playwright, The Mug. UNESCO Playwrights Festival, New Zealand, University of Otago, September 15, 2019, & University of Waterloo, November 30, 2017.

    Cultural Consultant, Becoming Burlesque, written and directed by Jackie English, 2017.

    Trainer & Director, Lost in Translation. Studio 180, University of Waterloo, March 2016.

    Playwright, The Widow. SummerWorks Festival, Toronto, August 2014.

    Playwright, Waiting for Gilgamesh: Scenes from Iraq. Fort Point Theatre, Boston, June 2014.

    Playwright and performer, Courage: A Monologue on Nonsense. MiST Theatre, University of Toronto, March 2014.

    Playwright, Notorious Women. Hybrid Theatre Works, NY, USA, June 2011, UMass, Boston, June 2013.

    Playwright, Stuck. Golden Thread Theatre Company, San Francisco, Nov. 2012.

    Playwright, Lysistrata in Iraq. Hybrid Theatre Works, New York, US, June 2011.

    Playwright and Director, Stuck. University of Basra, Iraq, March 2009.

    Performer, What Keeps Mankind Alive. University of Basra, IRAQ, March 2009.

    Dramaturge Consultant, Waiting for Godot. Modern Times Stage Company, Toronto, March 2008.

    Collaborative Projects

    Afro-Iraqi Cultural Heritage: Documenting, Preserving and Sharing. (ongoing)
    Principal investigator.

    This pilot project aims to bridge the capacity of Afro-Iraqi researchers to collect digital cultural heritage that will advance knowledge, recognition, and preserve a heritage on the threat of extinction. SSHRC Explore Grant.

    Assessing the Learning that Occurs With Arts-Based Pedagogy: Learning About Social Justice.
    Co-investigator with Soheila Kolahdouz Asfahani and Trish Van Katwyk

    Our research question is: What is the impact on learning that an arts-based pedagogical approach has on learning about social justice? The project goals are to provide and explore a learning experience informed by arts-based pedagogy, to facilitate critical reflexivity and social analysis, and to evaluate the impact of such an approach to learning. Our aim is to provide and assess experiential and transformative learning in a collaborative environment in order to explore multi-sensed processes. University of Waterloo Centre for Teaching Excellence, LITE Seed Grant

    Pilot Project: Arts-Based Social Justice Workshop: Assessing an Arts-Based Pedagogical Approach to Learning
    Co- Investigator with Soheila Kolahdouz Asfahani and Trish Van Katwyk

    The purpose of this pilot project is to conduct an arts-based workshop and use a survey as well as one- on-one interviews to gain insight about the workshop. These insights will be used to further develop a workshop that will be used to conduct further research on arts-based pedagogy. Internal support: Renison University College

    Her Story Is
    Writer and Trainer.

    HER STORY IS an international collaboration that supports artistic conversations, exchanges and creation among female American and Iraqi artists.

    Using Educational Drama and Theatre to Introduce Interactive Learning in Basrah University
    Author and Trainer

    An international collaboration between the University of Basrah, Development Partnerships in Higher Education (DELPHE) and University of London.

    Transforming the Learning Environment through Forum Theatre: Developing a Basrah University Model
    Author and Trainer

    A collaboration between the University of Basrah, Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.

    Author, Trainer and Director, Rehearsals for Change: Exploring Augusto Boal’s Techniques of Forum Theatre, A collaboration between the KW_ACT (Kitchener-Waterloo Arab Canadian Theatre) and the Kitchener-Waterloo community.

    Courses Taught

    • An Introduction to Modern Arab and Muslim Drama

    • Introduction to Arabic I

    • Introduction to Arabic II

    • Intermediate Arabic I

    • Intermediate Arabic II

    • Arab Culture

    • Migration, diaspora, and exile: Muslim narratives

    • ESL 129R Written Academic English
    University of Waterloo

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